Despite spending the better part of a year's salary (as in, what I'm making now), I came to the unfortunate realization that film school is not a surefire ticket to employment and success. Accepting this was pretty difficult after the endless days and hours working on other people's vanity projects with absolutely nothing to show for it. Three years in, I realized I was in a severe rut. Realizing that the film industry was not panning out to be a sustainable form of employment, I took the first job I could find (retail). I was depressed again.
Salvation came in the form of Vancouver based writers Dana Van Buskirk and Reg Seeton. At the time, they were running a website called TV Testpattern and were looking for TV and DVD reviewers. Given my severely underutilized arts degree in addition to my underutilized film school education, I wrote to them and was accepted into their ranks, first reviewing Without a Trace on a weekly basis, then whatever DVDs they needed to be reviewed. This was often a painful process, as the vast majority of these films were all direct-to-video. Payment was in the form of DVDs, which helped reduced the cost of my movie habit.
More salvation came from Fangoria magazine, who offered me my first professional writing gig when Dana and Reg recommended me. This was Alone in the Dark, in which I realized I could get much more respect working as a film journalist than I did as a film crew member.
Upon the ending of my life as a retail sales clerk, I went back to school to sharpen my writing skills, all the while accepting the odd Fangoria gig or working as a film extra. More on film extra work in a future post.
While my dreams of following in the footsteps of my heroes like James Cameron, John Woo, and Quentin Tarantino have not been forgotten, my ability to fund those dreams is somewhat limited. But, without dreams, we have no goals, and with no goals, there is no drive.